Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Discovering more about: Soldering Sterling Silver

What is soldering? Soldering is simply joining two (or more) pieces of metal together using an alloy of that metal, called solder. An alloy (a combination of the metal plus another metal) is used because the goal is to flow (or melt) the solder before the piece melts. While there are other methods to connect pieces of metal, soldering is the most precise and, if done properly, leaves no mark on the piece soldered.

Iris Rogers Melamed has developed a series of ‘Hot Connections’ classes exclusively for BeadFX, taking students from the basics of soldering through more advanced techniques. Each class has projects that both teach and result in great pieces of jewellery!

Double Dome Metal Beads
Iris also incorporates other metalsmithing skills such as sawing, piercing and filing into the curriculum. Sterling silver is the main metal used for projects especially in the introductory classes, but other base metals, such as copper, are included in the “Mixed Metals” classes.

“The Hot Connections 1: Intro to Soldering class offers a great foundation and understanding of soldering”, says Iris. “Many students come into their first class intimidated by the whole process and uneasy about using a torch. Once they realize that everything is explained and demonstrated in a logical manner they start to relax and enjoy themselves. As I say many times, this is really a hands-on class – my hands on yours guiding when needed.”

Bezel-set Ring
There is a strong emphasis on safety in Iris’ classes, not only for using the torches and tools in the studio, but also for setting up an in-home soldering station.

“Once you master the basics of soldering,” adds Iris, “a whole new world of jewellery making opens up. One of the reasons I teach is seeing the thrill the students have when they have successfully soldered their pieces.”

After taking the Hot Connections 1 class, students progress to Hot Connections: Bangles and then on to the other classes. Other projects include the Spinner Ring, the Interlocking Ring, Double Dome Metal Beads; and Bezel Set Rings and Pendants expand the students' skills even more.

Mixed Metals
Iris has added a weekday afternoon Hot Connections 1: Intro to Soldering class to the February schedule. “Not everyone is available on the weekends; I want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to take the class. If there is a demand for weekday classes we will schedule them.”

In addition to her classes, Iris also leads Open Metal Studio: Soldering sessions where her soldering students can bring in projects to work on and get advice and tips.  It’s important to note that the Open Metal Studios are not classes - students must have taken Hot Connections 1. The open sessions are ideal for those who are unable to set up a home soldering station or who want a little extra guidance.

Upcoming sessions with Iris Rogers Melamed:

Thursday, February 19
Hot Connections 1: Intro to Soldering Afternoon Session! 
12:00 - 4:00pm

Open Metal Studio: Soldering
6:00 - 9:00pm

Saturday, February 28
Hot Connections: Spinner Ring
10:30am - 4:30pm

Saturday, March 7
Hot Connections: Interlocking Rings
10:30am - 5:00pm

Saturday, March 14
Hot Connections: Connecting Components
10:00am - 5:00pm   

For complete details about each class, including class and kit fees, please refer to the website. 

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